5 Biggest Guardians Offseason Priorities That Must Be Addressed

The 5 biggest offseason priorities for the Cleveland Guardians that must be addressed.
The 5 biggest offseason priorities for the Cleveland Guardians that must be addressed. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Make a Decision on Shane Bieber

Cleveland needs to figure out what to do with Bieber this offseason. He's coming up on his final year before free agency, so the Guardians have a few routes they could take with him. They could trade him, extend him, or keep him for a potential playoff push in 2024.

There was talk of dealing Bieber at least summer's trade deadline, but he was injured at the time and it didn't come to pass. He returned in late September and finished the season on a high note with 6 innings of 1-run ball in his final start, indicating that he should be ready to pick up where he left off next year.

While trading a Cy Young winner and the ace of your staff is never easy, Cleveland should strongly consider it this winter if there are attractive trade packages on the table. Injuries aside, 2023 was shaping up to be one of the worst years of Bieber's career before he went down. His strikeout rate has declined every year since 2020, plummeting from an MLB-best 14.2 K/9 to a below-average 7.5 K/9.

Bieber's going to be 29 next year, so he's approaching the decline phase of his career as well. He's definitely not worth an extension at this point, especially considering how costly that would be.

If their Guardians don't move Bieber this winter (ideally for a power hitter or some prospects), then they can always re-evaluate his status at the trade deadline. If they're in contention next summer and he's pitching well, then hang on to him for a possible playoff run. If the team is still struggling, however, then flip him to a contender before he leaves for nothing.

There's risk in that strategy if Bieber gets hurt again or completely falls apart, but there's risk involved in every option. That seems like the best way to try to compete in 2024 while still getting something in return for him if things go south.